It’s a curious thing that the Big Book of Yellow Pages is even delivered to your outside-the-house mailox, isn’t it? Does ANYone under the age of 90 use this resource anymore?
That mass of papers with the tiniest of print is obsolete: Why would anyone look up just a number and an address when they could more quickly access your number, address, offerings, comments about your business, and reputation online?
Consider some of the many reasons that now’s the time to monitor your business’s online reputation:
Ninety-two percent of readers consider online reviews as they float around cyberspace.
1. Ninety-two percent off online readers seek reviews about services and products.
2. Seventy-four percent of those readers change their minds based on those positive, negative, or neutral comments.
This is a key fact: Even “neutral” reviews can and do count against you. Why would anyone buy from a source that isn’t met with rave reviews?
3. It’s better to be proactive than reactive.
Why wait for damage control mode to take action? It could be too late. It’s much more wise to take a pulse now and to hopefully find that all is well. The next step is to then apply some smart strategies or to enlist the support of an online reputation protection source to assist you with keeping your favorable reputation.
4. Ever heard of the word “viral”?
It’s really quite a study to watch something go out to the masses, isn’t it? In one hour or one 24-hour period, a story can spread like wildfire. Online reputation tools can help you to get your word out there in the way YOU want it to — not the way one disgruntled employee or customer wants.
5. Maintaining an online presence is key.
Attendance is now required; make sure you’re there for roll call when Twitter, Facebook, and the rest call out your name to see if you showed up for class. Social networking is here to stay, and it’s a win-win. It’s free marketing AND it’s a free, efficient way for you to establish a likable personality and fan base.
The positive tenor established with your clients and fans can and will offset the occasional naysayer. But if that positive vibe isn’t floating in cyberspace already, the occasional negative comment might appear to have a magnifying glass right over it.
What do you do if you get a negative review?
- Keep it classy.
- Less is more.
- Apologize if you need to.
- Sometimes, silence is golden.
Be very careful. You might just be seeing a troll — or someone who just clicks around looking to vent out some hostility. There are a lot of them out there! If it’s just a troll’s comment, rise above and don’t take the bait. Often, your fans will jump to your defense without you even having to say a word. Sometimes, the message just has to be: “You’re dismissed.”
If you’re thinking that your online reputation doesn’t matter, or that it will take care of itself, now might be the time to reconsider that notion.
From hotels to restaurants to vacuum cleaners and copy machines — everyone posts online comments about the goods and services on which they’ve spent their time, effort, energy, and money. And we know this: These comments establish your business reputation.
Remember: proactive — not reactive. Be cool, too. Cheers to that!
Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer who blogs for various organizations and businesses.